‘Message Of Peace’
This is a deeply moving, engaging and remarkable story of a lesser-known, Irish hero John Boyle O’Reilly (1844-1890); in both spoken word and song; mapping his life and work. Pickled (in places) with Tyrrell’s own observations on our own times and condition, leaving no doubt as to the passion, respect and high esteem in which he beholds his all time hero. A man whose poems are as relevant now as they were when first written; the title poem and song being a perfect example. Tracing his journey from early childhood, set against a backdrop of famine, revolution, and penal servitude for life in Australia.
The first man to escape from the penal colony in Australia on a whaling ship to the USA, O’Reilly settled in Boston and became the most influential Irishman in America of his day. He numbered among his friends and admirers Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain and Wendell Phillips; He was commissioned by Joseph Pulitzer to write a poem for the unveiling of the Statue of Liberty; As an editor and part owner of The Pilot newspaper, he championed Native and African American rights and spoke out against anti-Semitism. Prophesied the EEC and a black president of the USA. It was O’Reilly who devised the plan that rescued the other Fenians in Fremantle prison on board an American whaling ship the Catalpa.
Romantic; Visionary; Poet; heart of a rebel; Courage of a freedom fighter; Commitment of a civil rights activist, O’Reilly had the blood of a true born Irishman.
Songs in the show allow Tyrrell connect history of the 19th century and modern times in a seamless way. Song lyrics are drawn from a wide variety of sources: Oscar Wilde, Francis Ledwidge, Bob Dylan, Bobby Sands, John Lennon and many more. These are the integral part of the tale and illustrate how O’Reilly was a man way ahead of his time and a majestic human being. Using an array of instruments, Tyrrell weaves effortlessly between narrative, instrumental and song.
Already, set in motion, are plans for a docu./drama adaptation of the show. It is hoped the show will tour all of the places that O’Reilly visited in his short incredible life. John Boyle O’Reilly 1844-1890. Persecuted, condemned and banished from Ireland to the Penal Colonies in Australia, all for his political beliefs and activities.
Below are some of reviews of the show. On Monday night, the august and newly renovated American Irish Historical Society in New York opened its door for a performance by Sean Tyrrell from Galway City, who was touring with his own production of “Message Of Peace”: The Life of John Boyle O’Reilly” on behalf of the Irish American Cultural Institute.
A powerful presentation given by Tyrrell on a topic that caught his attention a number of years ago as he travelled around the U.S. as a folk singer. While many people are content to sit at home and watch dramatic historical recreations on the History Channel or PBS, there is nothing like a live artist who throws himself into the subject at hand and breathes new life into the persona of those whose lives touched us directly or indirectly in the past.
Tyrrell’s performance brought the salient details of his life to us in a well paced and entertaining mix of poetry and song that fleshed out the life of John Boyle O’Reilly. Utilizing his traditional folk music sensibilities and familiarity, he was unabashed in drawing parallels between contemporary situations and those that O’Reilly faced that required conscientious reflection like current wars and injustices around the world.
Kudos to the American Irish Historical Society and the Irish American Cultural Institute for collaborating on this project and giving a talented voice and thoughtful presence like Sean Tyrrell the opportunity to learn more about our history and the people who shaped it like John Boyle O’Reilly. Paul Keating. Irish Voice New York.
An epic journey unfolds and flows. Of wily skill and open daring. Endurance beyond resolve and strength. We know it as love and wisdom. Dennis Mc Sharry. Poet.
Some will see it as history, some as poetry, some as storytelling, some as singing, some as theatre, some will be overwhelmed by mans abuse of man, some will have an epiphany. Mike Considine. Noteable Arts.
His very important story crosses three continents, jail, persecution and escape. It’s a tale woven in song, part spoken word, part history lesson. The experience takes the audience back to an almost theatre in the round experience. You will be led across a dance-floor of words so lovely, so dire and so hopeful that there can only be one feeling when it is over. The kind of exhaustion that comes from awe. David Bridson. Yachats Festival Presenter, Oregon.
This riveting stage presentation brings this forgotten visionary-poet to life. Weaving a varied tapestry of traditional music, song, words and poetry, through the extraordinary talents of singer-bard Seán Tyrrell, whose passion for O’Reilly’s life, work and poetry inhabits and permeates this stunning theatrical presentation. A must see! Dr. PJ Curtis Radio Presenter, Record Producer, Author.
John Boyle OReilly came walking right through the crowd at our concert, before the Irish Fair in St. Paul this August!!! I will never, ever forget the gift you gave that night at St. Thomas. You must stay healthy so you can come visit us in St. Paul again. And please record A Dreamer Lives Forever, if economically feasible. It is stunning. In awe, but not intimidated, S. McAninch